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Summary: When we find hate in our heart, it is simply a sign that we are going to need to forgive. Forgiveness doesn't make the other person right, it sets you free. For a believer , forgiveness is not simply the wisest choice, O Beloved, it is our only choice.

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For Those that are not familiar with an Anglican Service; there are four Scripture readings prior to the Message. Today's assigned readings are: Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114; Romans 14:1-12 and Matthew 18:21-35

A driver placed a note under the windshield wiper of his illegally parked car..... which read:

"I have circled the block for 20 minutes.

I'm late for an appointment,..... and if I don't park here .....I'll lose my job. ..........'Forgive us our trespasses'."

When he came back .....he found a parking ticket .....and a note from a policeman: ......."I've circled the block for 20 years, .....and if I do not give you a ticket, ......I will lose my job. .......'Lead us not into temptation'."

Last week the Scriptures spoke on how we deal with conflict.

Quickly on the heels of that question, ..... comes the equally difficult question of ............(Slow) how do we forgive.

We all understand the general concept of forgiveness, ......but most of us are not especially proficient on the specifics.

So, this today, .....we are going to address the question:

How Do I Forgive?

First Beloved.... You must be Truthful, ......You must Acknowledge .....that you have been......hurt.

(1 Finger) The starting point for pursuing forgiveness ......is to admit.... that you have in fact .....been hurt.

We often like to pretend as if what he said did not really bother us ......or what she did or said .....did not even phase us.

But until we are willing to admit ......that we were hurt by them, ......we are not in a place ......where we can begin .....to pursue forgiveness. (Pause)

There are many incidents in life that are not candidates for forgiveness ...... things like minor

disappointments ......or passing slights.

Situations that require forgiveness ....are ones where the pain inflicted ..... is personal,.... unfair, ....and deep.

Things like betrayal and brutality - physical or emotional...... would surely rise to this level.

Beloved....At this point,...... as we hurt, .......we are likely to find .....some hatred ......buried in our heart.

Hatred, of course, .....is never a good thing, ....... we must be careful .....that we do not try to get rid of it ......by covering the hatred up.

When we find hate in our heart, ......it is simply a sign ...... that we are going to need .....to forgive.

(1 Finger) First admit that you have been hurt. (2 Fingers) Second ...... Surrender your right to get even. REPEAT

(Pause)

A mother ran into the bedroom .......when she heard her seven-year-old son .....scream.

She found his two-year-old sister ......pulling his hair.

She gently released the little girl's grip and said to the boy,....

"There, there. .....She didn't mean it. ......She doesn't know that hurts."

He nodded his acknowledgement, and the mother left the room.

As she started down the hall ... she heard the little girl intensely scream.

Rushing back in, she asked, "What happened?"

The little boy replied, ...... "She knows now." (Pause)

Few would dispute...... our right ....to get even.

The rule of the world is ......." To do unto others .....as they have done ......unto you."

But......When we choose to forgive, ......we choose to lay aside our right ...... to extract revenge.

In the moment .... When we yield and lay aside revenge, .....we accomplish Two things:

(1 Finger) We are leaving ultimate justice and vengeance to God, and

(2 Fingers) We are deliberately choosing for ourselves .....the path of forgiveness.

Acknowledging that we have been hurt ......gets us in the right place.

It gets us .....to the beginning

But surrendering our right to get even .....is the first major step .....down that true path..... Of forgiveness.

Some would argue .....that choosing such a path ...... is inevitably going to make us...... a patsy.

That we are yielding all of our rightful revenge.....and are going to end up .... a doormat.

REPEAT

I am convinced that the Scriptures clearly show, ......that there is a power.... A spiritual power.... that is unleashed in forgiveness ......that cannot come...... from any other source .......then God.

So What does this power look like?

Consider the following story:

Albert Tomei was a justice of the New York State Supreme Court.

A young defendant was convicted in Judge Tomei's court ......of gunning down another person .....execution style.

The murderer had a long record, .....was no stranger to the system, ......and only stared in anger .....as the jury ....returned its guilty verdict.

The victim's family had attended each day of the two-week trial.

On the day of sentencing, .....the victim's mother and grandmother .....addressed the court.

When they spoke, ......neither addressed the jury.

Both spoke directly..... to the murderer.

Hear their words to him:

"You broke the Golden Rule----loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

You broke the law----loving your neighbor as yourself.

I am your neighbor," the older of the two women told him, " and she gave him her address.

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